There are plenty of ways to add prospects to your organization, but the draft remains the largest source of incoming talent. Even with the reduced rounds from previous years, the draft can revitalize franchises or force others into an early rebuild. The Yankees have had some recent success developing from within here, and they entered the 2022 draft with a clear goal in mind: stockpile plenty of developed arms.
All 20 of the Yankees’ selections this year were from the NCAA or NJCAA ranks, and 15 of them were pitchers. That’s a massive percentage of picks to spend on bolstering the minor league pitching staff, a gutsy move considering the development risks with young arms. That being said, the majority of the Yankees’ pitching prospects entering the draft were near or have reached the major leagues already, so choosing to replenish this role in a widespread way makes some sense.
The draft didn’t start with a pitcher, however. The Yankees went to one of their prototypical player profiles, drafting Spencer Jones out of Vanderbilt with the 25th overall pick. Jones is a 6-foot-7 outfielder with a power bat and crazy exit velocity, mirroring the description of the team’s two best hitters in Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. If there’s a team that knows what they’re doing with hulking sluggers like Jones, it’s the Yankees.
Drew Thorpe was the second round pick that the Yankees chose to wrap up the first day of the draft. Thorpe has had a very successful career at Cal Poly, and drew rave reviews for a devastating changeup that forms the backbone of his gameplan on any given night. Thorpe provides a solid floor to the Yankees’ pitching prospects from this draft, but there were plenty more to come.
Day 2 began the run on pitching, and it started with a promising right-hander in Trystan Vrieling from Gonzaga. The Yankees nabbed Oregon outfielder Anthony Hall in the fourth round, and then got LSU starter Eric Reyzelman, Texas Tech righty Chase Hampton, and Northeastern ace Cam Schlittler in order. Stanford infielder Brett Barrera joined the fray in the eighth round, and then USC reliever Matt Keaning and Eastern Kentucky left-hander Will Brian were selected to close out the day.
The final 10 picks in Day 3 cemented the trend of acquiring experienced arms. They began by taking UC Santa Barbara pitcher Ryan Harvey, who has flexed between being a starter and reliever within the past year. Mississippi State reliever Jackson Fristoe was next, followed by Clemson lefty Geoffrey Gilbert and College of Southern Nevada reliever Kris Bow. Grand Canyon University outfielder Tayler Aguilar broke things up in the 15th round, but they went right back to the well with Evansville right-hander Shane Gray, Azusa Pacific righty Hayden Merda, and Northeastern starter Sebastian Keane. Paris Junior College third baseman Beau Brewer was taken in the 19th round, and Elon University reliever Trevor Kirk rounded out the class.
We won’t know for some time how these prospects pan out, and that’s assuming all of them sign with the team. A few are already committed to transferring to other colleges, so the Yankees will have to be convincing enough to sway them towards going pro. Regardless, it’ll be a long time before we can make any definitive statements about this draft class. That doesn’t mean there isn’t any takeaways we can make right now though, or that we can’t put a grade on the overall philosophy at work. So, it’s time to posit the question:
What grade would you give the Yankees for the 2022 MLB Draft?
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